NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Ken Hemphill, national strategist for Empowering Kingdom Growth, has launched a new study series called “iBelieve,” starting with “Core Convictions,” a book that explains the basics of the faith in layman’s terms.
“Most of the systematic theologies are heavyweight in a lot of terminology,” Hemphill told Baptist Press. “Core Convictions deals with 23 faith statements starting with the Bible. There are four sections on the Bible, including inerrancy and that it’s trustworthy and how it’s transmitted — all of those issues that people want to know.
“It deals with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, the triune God,” he said. “The unique feature is each chapter is only about 850 words. That’s what people like about it. We’ve designed it so that you can study it in a small group.”
A free downloadable study guide corresponding to the book will be available online at auxanopress.com in seven-week or 13-week options.
“We’ve already got some churches that have given them this year for graduation gifts,” Hemphill said of the book, which was released in May. “We’ve got churches that are going to study them this summer with the entire church. We’ve got a guy teaching it to his youth group, to give them a good faith foundation.”
Hemphill said the motivation for writing the series came from a conversation he had with a pastor.
“I asked him, ‘What are you preaching on next year, brother?’ I love to pick his brain about what’s going on. He said, ‘I feel like I’ve got to go back and kind of start over. My people need to know the basics. I’m preaching through a systematic theology, just explaining the basics of the faith.’
“So I was riding back home and got under conviction about that, that it’s a crucial issue for us and our convention with the Great Commission emphasis and things of that nature,” Hemphill said. “People really need to know who they are and what they believe. That was the whole reason for it.”
Hemphill said the book contributes to the overall objective of Empowering Kingdom Growth, a vision adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2002.
“Obviously, if we’re going to be Kingdom citizens we’ve got to have a solid basis for our faith,” he said. “One of my goals in [an earlier book titled] ‘Splash: Show People Love And Share Him’ was that people would begin to live out their faith in such a way that it would appeal to their neighbors and their neighbors would say, ‘I want to know the hope that’s within you.’
“I wanted to give them a basis for being able to explain a little more of their own faith and how people can grow in their faith,” Hemphill said, adding that he intentionally wrote a short book with simple language so that people with little or no background in theology could grasp the content.
“It’s made a wonderful little gift book, by the way. People are giving it to folks. I think that would probably be how it contributes most to growing Kingdom citizens,” Hemphill said.
He referred to Ephesians 4:11-16, which addresses the equipping of God’s people for building up the body of Christ so that believers are not “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching.”
“A good theological understanding of who we are would be a very important part of growing the church,” Hemphill said.
Core Convictions is available in a hardcover edition for $6.95 and a soft cover for $4.95. Hemphill said the books are intentionally inexpensive so that churches can purchase them in bulk for use in Bible studies or to distribute as gifts.
The first 1,000 visitors to the Empowering Kingdom Growth booth at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., will receive a free copy of Core Convictions, he said.
“I think people will really enjoy it. We’ll come back in subsequent editions of the iBelieve series and deal with the doctrine of the church, the doctrine of Scripture and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
“We’re going to keep the size of the books the same. The entire book is only 96 pages,” Hemphill said. “It’s almost a pocket guide to the convictions of the faith. It’s small enough you can stick it down in a purse or carry it with your Bible.”
Erin Roach is a staff writer for Baptist Press. For more information, visit auxanopress.com.